As the longest-running cultural institution in New York, dedicated to showcasing film, arts, and culture from the Middle East and North Africa, ArteEast is committed to providing a platform for voices from our region. We aim to foster a deeper understanding of the complex and pressing realities related to the Middle East/SWANA through the arts. More than ever, we are devoted to amplifying Palestinian voices, shedding light on the harsh reality of the occupation and Israeli military rule over Palestinian lives. We firmly believe in the transformative power of storytelling, transcending borders, religions, and identities, enabling us to connect through our shared humanity, and fostering deeper empathy.
As part of our response to the current situation and 75 years of Palestine’s struggle for freedom and liberation, we are sharing a selection of films created within the last 20 years, that are available to watch online for free. Please stay tuned for other related upcoming programs.
Arna’s Children, 2003, Danniel DannielJuliano Mer-Khamis, 1 hour and 24 minutes, Netherlands, Palestine, and Israel, Arabic and Hebrew with English subtitles
This documentary tells the story of a theater group that was established by Arna Mer-Khamis. On the West Bank, she opened an alternative education system for children whose regular life was disrupted by the Israeli occupation. The theater group that she started engaged children from Jenin, helping them to express their everyday frustrations, anger, bitterness and fear. Arnas’ son, Juliano, was also one of the directors of Jenin’s theater. With his camera, he filmed the children during rehearsal periods from 1989 to 1996. Now, he goes back to see what happened to them.
Slingshot Hip Hop, 2008, Jacqueline Reem Salloum, 1 hour and 26 minutes, Palestine and USA, Arabic, English and Hebrew with English subtitles
Slingshot Hip Hop is a feature length documentary that premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. The film documents the birth of the Palestinian Hip Hop scene and braids together the stories of young Palestinians living in Gaza, the West Bank and 48 (inside Israel) as they challenge divisions imposed by occupation and poverty.
Jenin, Jenin, 2009, Mohammad Bakri, 54 minutes, Palestine, Arabic with English subtitles
Directed and co-produced by Palestinian actor Mohammad Bakri, Jenin Jenin includes testimony from Jenin residents after the Israeli army’s Defensive Wall operation. The city and camp were the scenes of fierce fighting which ended with Jenin flattened and scores of Palestinians dead. Palestinians as well as numerous human rights groups accused Israel of committing war crimes in the attack. The United Nations appointed a commission of inquiry, but Israel refused to let its members visit the scene.
Banned in Israel, Jenin Jenin is dedicated to Iyad Samudi, the producer of the film, who returned home to Yamun after the shooting of the film was completed. On June 23, as Israeli forces besieged Yamun, Samudi was shot and killed as he was leaving a militarily-closed area with three friends.
Budrus, 2009, Julia Bacha, 1 hour and 21 minutes, Palestine, USA, Arabic and Hebrew with English subtitles
Budrus is an award-winning feature documentary film about Palestinian community organizer, Ayed Morrar, who unites Palestinian political factions and invites Israeli supporters to join an unarmed movement to save his village of Budrus from destruction by Israel’s Separation Barrier.
My Neighbourhood, 2012, Julia Bacha, 25 minutes, Palestine, USA, Arabic and Hebrew with English subtitles
Mohammed El Kurd is a Palestinian teenager growing up in the heart of East Jerusalem. When Mohammed’s family is forced to give up a part of their home to Israeli settlers, local residents begin peaceful protests and in a surprising turn, are quickly joined by scores of Israeli supporters. Mohammed comes of age in the face of unrelenting tension with his neighbors and unexpected cooperation with Israeli allies in his backyard.
The Architecture of Violence, 2014, Eyal Weizman, Al Jazeera English, 25 minutes, Palestine and Israel, English, Arabic and Hebrew.
Eyal Weizman explains architecture’s key role in the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the evolution of urban warfare.
Gaza Fights for Freedom, 2019, Abby Martin, 1h and 24 minutes, USA, Arabic, Hebrew and English with English Subtitles
Filmed during the height of the Great March Of Return protests, it features exclusive footage of demonstrations where 200 unarmed civilians have been killed by Israeli snipers since March 30, 2018.
Mayor, 2020, Davit Osit, 1 hour and 29 minutes, USA and United Kingdom, Arabic and English.
Mayor is a real-life political saga following Musa Hadid, the Christian mayor of Ramallah, during his second term in office. His immediate goals: repave the sidewalks, attract more tourism, and plan the city’s Christmas celebrations. His ultimate mission: to end the occupation of Palestine. Rich with detailed observation and a surprising amount of humor, MAYOR offers a portrait of dignity amidst the madness and absurdity of endless occupation while posing a question: how do you run a city when you don’t have a country?
Reckoning with Laughter, 2021, Al Jazeera English, 25 minutes, Israel and USA, English
Can comedy help ease tensions between Israelis and Palestinians? Israeli comedian Noam Shuster thinks it is worth a shot. Noam is a peace builder-turned-comedian whose political satire makes headlines across the Middle East. She was about to launch her one-woman US comedy tour when the first coronavirus wave hit. She returns to Israel and soon finds herself recovering from COVID-19 in a government-assigned hotel – where Palestinians and Israelis laugh together at her jokes. But, as the pandemic sends the world into a tailspin, exposing racial and economic injustice, Noam is reminded how much work needs to be done in Israel.